One of the hottest dining scenes in New Jersey is Summit, with a charming National Historic Register-designated downtown tucked in a corner atop Union County and easily accessible by route 78 and 24.
This year, Summit House joined the fray, opening in April with Executive Chef Martin Kester at the helm.
Kester’s approach to preparing food is specific – seasonal cooking isn’t a trend; it’s a way of life.
According to his publicity:
Inspired as a child by the Garden State’s many farm stands and later by experiencing the earthbound cuisines of Europe while backpacking, Chef Martin has devoted his education to perfecting a straightforward yet refined cooking style: sourcing local ingredients to create simple, authentic and sensory-inspired cuisine. In joining the Summit House team, Chef Martin is skillfully creating the restaurant’s menu by sourcing the finest ingredients at their peak of freshness from neighboring farms, fishermen, and purveyors.
As the seasons change, so will the innovative menu. Chef Martin is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and for the past six years has been honing his craft as Chef de Cuisine at Ninety Acres in Peapack-Gladstone, New Jersey. In preparing for the opening of Summit House, Chef Martin spent time in some of the top-rated kitchens in the area, including The NoMad in New York City; Elements in Princeton, New Jersey; and two weeks at Chef Dan Barber’s famed Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York.
Chef Martin is looking forward to bringing all his experience to the Summit House kitchen, where he’ll lead by example, working alongside his team to demonstrate his philosophy of using simple ingredients to prepare mouthwatering dishes with bursts of natural flavor. He runs a structured and organized kitchen while encouraging his ambitious team to take ownership and grow their craft…and their own style.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Chef Martin learned to appreciate the bounty of the changing seasons as a child. He now keeps a small flock of free-range hens and a 1,000-square foot garden outside his own home, growing an array of juicy organic tomatoes, black figs, vine-ripe berries among other fruits and vegetables. “I’m admittedly a bit obsessed with my garden, working in it any free moment I get,”
Chef Martin says. “It bonds my family and I love showing my children how important fresh, all natural, and ultimately delicious food is for our bodies and our community.” When not wearing chef whites, Martin experiments with recipes at home, using his knowledge of ingredients and technique to develop future menu offerings. He’s currently working on a starter for sourdough bread, crafting homemade kombucha and testing hot sauce variations with peppers from his garden. Guests can expect to find all these items on the Summit House menu.
For more information on Summit House, visit summithousenj.com.
Summit House, 395 SPRINGFIELD AVENUE, SUMMIT, NEW JERSEY, 07901 (Corner of Springfield Avenue and Maple Street) PHONE: 908.273.6000. On Facebook/Instagram: @SummitHouseNJ